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One-Eyed Jack    by Paula Miller & Chris Forrest order for
One-Eyed Jack
by Paula Miller
Order:  USA  Can
Blooming Tree Press, 2006 (2006)
Hardcover, Paperback
*   Reviewed by Kerrily Sapet

The story One-Eyed Jack begins on a crisp morning on a Montana cattle ranch in the 1880s. Ten-year-old Nate jumps down the stairs, wolfs down his breakfast, and heads out to round up cattle with his father. As they ride in the warm morning sunshine, Nate replays last night's conversation in his mind. In yet another attempt to plead with his father for a dog, Nate lost - even backed up by his Grandpa. Nate doesn't understand why his father dislikes dogs so much.

After Nate and his father finish rounding up cattle, Nate discovers a starving young puppy in the grass. Grudgingly his father lets him take it home, thinking it's too weak to survive. With tender care Nate and his family (except his father) grow to love the puppy, naming him for the black patch that surrounds his eye. Nate prays to change his father's heart and to understand his father's feelings about dogs. He also prays that God will help keep the dog on a steady course, rather than chasing hens and chewing aprons.

As the story progresses the family grows to understand each other better. When the dog becomes a hero, Nate's father heart begins to soften. In the end, with the guidance of the Lord they discover what to do with One-Eyed Jack. It is refreshing to see a book of faith in which the characters do not solely rely on belief to solve a problem. However, the portrayal of the cattle ranch in the 1880s is trite, complete with hoecakes, checked flannel shirts, and drawling accents. Times when Miller scratched the surface beyond stereotypes - such as when she described the process of tanning hides - were few and far between. At various points, the writing and dialogue seemed a bit stiff, moralistic, and predictable.

Paula Miller's book is the first in the Faces of History series. The series plans to show both children and teens throughout different times in history. In each book, the main character will tackle obstacles by using their faith in the Lord. The author hopes that the series will not only entertain, but inspire children of faith.

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